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And Yet Another Request for Opinions About a Knife Set

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

Hi Guys,

 

I appreciate everyone's time and for being patient with people like me who don't know much at all about kitchen knives.

 

So, I'm looking at getting some new knives.  My current set was a department store buy from many years ago.  I think I got them on sale for $80 or something like that.  Now, I want to get a few more serious knives and I've read to stay away from the sets.  I don't really have a budget per say and I wouldn't mind picking up the knives slowly to get better ones.  I don't want to break the bank, but I'm also not looking at spending the least amount possible.

 

I currently live in the US, New Jersey and I'm nothing more than an at home cook.  I chop a lot of veggies, break down chickens, de-bone legs of lamb and fillet a lot of fish.

 

I started to look at knives at Sur La Table and was really impressed with some of the Shuns I saw.  After reading through a lot of posts, I see that they are not at all a good value for their price.

 

Here is what I think I need:  A chef knife, utility knife, fillet knife, carving knife and steel.  Besides that I don't really have any preferences but I do lean towards the knives that have the Japanese characters and kitana-like edges.  I'm not even sure if I should be looking at carbon or SS.  Here are some names that stand out from my readings:  MAC Professional, Tojiro, Masahiro and Hiromoto.  I don't need all of the knives from one line and would actually prefer to pick up knives from different makers. 

 

For sharpening, I have the Kramer set of stones that Sur La Table sells.  I hope I have a good set here.  I don't have a lot of experience with sharpening kitchen knives, but I used to sharpen fishing knives all the time in my youth with an old wet stone.

 

I would also like to get back some counter space by ditching my block and installing a magnetic strip.  I would need a recommendation here as I know very little about what to look for.

 

Thanks,

Phil

post #2 of 27

I bought one of these from this seller on ebay.  Fits 7 knives comfortably (not cleavers obviously).  I like that it can stick on the fridge magnetically, no mounting required.

 

http://www.ebay.com/usr/anniesarc

post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 

Thanks, I'll take a look at the ebay post.

 

-phil

post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 

Any opinions or advice as to what knives I should be looking at?  Should I go with carbon or SS?  What about the Kramer sharpening system I mentioned in my OP?

 

Thanks,

Phil

post #5 of 27
If you're good about working clean, carbon is a joy to use. Better edge retention, much easier to sharpen, easier to de burr and you can do quick touchups on your fine stone for a while in between full sharpening.

Your chef and petty(utility) knives are going to be the ones used most often and require sharpening more often than specific task knives like fillet or carving. If anything you want those two to be carbon.

For fillet knife, the Victorinox one is fine and inexpensive. Save your money there.
post #6 of 27
Tanakas are back in stock at metalmaster. They were wiped out at christmas time.

http://www.metalmaster-ww.com/product-list/5

I like their blue steel a lot. Ginsanko (G3) is one of the easier to sharpen stainless. I've never used the VG-10 from this maker.

Petty knives are smaller cheaper than the gyuto. If you're not sure if carbon or this style of knife is for you, try out a petty first.
post #7 of 27
Thread Starter 

The Tanaka knives are pretty.

post #8 of 27

The ho wood (magnolia wood) handles are not my favorite, mine has been replaced with octagonal ichii wood ($55 at japanese knife imports).  I'm always searching for knives in this price range because i'm looking for wedding gifts for 5 weddings this summer!

post #9 of 27

ZH used too advertise their stones as Niniwa Chosera, which are high-end stones.  They do not specify what they are selling now.  Either way I would recommend the Geshin 3pc set, provided they will be restocking soon.

http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/sharpening-supplies/gesshin-stone-set.html

 

Tough to tell you what to get for a Gyuto or suji when we don't really now what you want, but just searching recent posts in this forum will give you plenty of input.  If you want to make it easy on yourself then you can't go far wrong with the Tanaka, or a Takayuki, Kikuichi, Goko or a number of others.  The Mac is an excellent stainless knife, not too bad to sharpen, good edge retention, great geometry, handle, FF.

 

Geshin is one that doesn't get mentioned enough around here.  Their Ginga is a laser, the Uraku is a midweight, their Kagero is essentially an Akifusa (SRS-15 super steel) with a better grind and FF, and Jon is a peerless vendor.

 

For a petty the predominant philosophy is that it is a utility knife, something to leave on the counter all through prep and mealtime also.  So stainless makes most sense here in most cases.  I typically rinse and wipe a knife after each use, but with a utility I don't want to be at all concerned about whether I did or not after slicing that lemon, especially at the table.  Here I see the Artifex 150 petty as just about the best solution, AEB-L is fully stainless but sharpens like carbon, a bit less edge retention is the trade off, cheap enough.

 

 

Rick

post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 

It's even hard for me to say what I want.  I guess I'm looking to get some decent knives that would be better quality and value than the store 'sets'.  I heard a lot about the Japanese knives and thought they sounded nice.  I know a lot of times people familiar with a product will say something like "I wish my first buy was X."  For instance, I can imagine a few in this forum might say something like "If I could take it back I would have bought X instead of the Shun set I dropped hundreds of dollars for."  This is just an example.  No offence to anyone who owns and likes Shun.

 

I saw the recommendation about the stones at ZH.  I wish I had come here before I bought the Kramer set from Sur La Table.  I'm sure I could have saved some money there.  With that being said, is the Kramer set decent for sharpening, or should I look into selling it and getting something else?

 

Thanks,

Phil

post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 

So, here is what I'm currently looking at:

Chef knife - MAC PRO (Not sure of the size I should get yet.)

Utility knife -  Artifex 150, any others I should be looking at?

Fillet knife - Victorinox (Any preference between the VN40613 and VF40711?)

Boning knife - ?

Carving knife - ?

Steel - ?

 

I would like to get at least one carbon knife.  Would the Carving knife be a good choice for that?  Maybe Masamoto or Tojiro DP or Sujihiki 270mm or Hiromoto)

post #12 of 27
Get yourself an Idahone ceramic rod and at least a decent combo stone like a King 1000/6000, along with your knives.
post #13 of 27
Fyi tojiro dp is not carbon steel, its stainless probably better rust resistance than the alloy used by mac. They do sell a line of tool steel knives though. And their itk lines in aogami and shirogami.
post #14 of 27

Kegeryu, I can't quite comprehend your $80 purchase with owning a set of ZH Kramers, very expensive knives of which there happens to be grossly divergent compositions of.

 

 

Rick

post #15 of 27

If SLT allows you to return the stones, you should probably do that because they are (IMO) not a great value. If not, use  them and have fun. IIRC, they are believed to be  rebranded Naniwa or Naniwa Chosera. Both of those lines are very well regarded by people who sharpen metal objects. Technique seems to be more important than equipment in sharpening anyway. You may want to check out Jon Broida's sharpening videos and you should probably stay away from your low grit stone for a while.

 

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEBF55079F53216AB

post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Alan View Post
 

Kegeryu, I can't quite comprehend your $80 purchase with owning a set of ZH Kramers, very expensive knives of which there happens to be grossly divergent compositions of.

 

 

Rick

  The OP didn't mention Kramer knives at all and $80 is not his budget. $80 is the cost of the knives kageryu  is planning replace and Kramer is the (popular) name SLT put on the stones to make to attract status conscious consumers.

post #17 of 27
Thread Starter 

DR - You are correct on both counts. I've had the stones for quite a while and no receipt, so I'm not sure they will let me return them.

 

Sorry for the confusion, Rick.

 

I'm glad to hear that my stones are usable.  I'm guessing the sink bridge will work with other stones, so in addition to the Kramer stones, are there others I should be looking for?  I already have recommendations for a King 1000/6000 and a Gesshin stone set.  I was also looking at Dave Martell's core set.

post #18 of 27
Thread Starter 

I see that another forum memeber has a Hattori HD Series knife for sale in the trade forum.  Is this something to consider?

post #19 of 27

OK, now it all makes sense.  These are Shapton glass stones I am seeing currently offered by SLT.  If you have stones that are much over 5/8" thick then these are the Chosera stones.  Either way you have decent equipment.  If you have the 3-stone set, then a 10K chosera or 12K shapton would be a nice addition, or a Geshin 8k for a fine finish with just a bit of toothiness to it.

 

 

Rick


Edited by Rick Alan - 2/2/15 at 3:37am
post #20 of 27
Thread Starter 

Rick - the Gesshin 8000 might be a neat addition to the stones I already have.

 

The more I look at knives, the more I wonder what to get.  I've been reading about and viewing the KAGAYAKI CarboNext line and the Tojiro DP line.  They all look nice to me.  I think I read in another thread that they were better than the MACs for the money.

 

What do you think about the Hiromoto knives at JapaneseChefKnives, especially the Damascus line?  I see that they may not be available for much longer.  The Damascus knives are beautiful, but might be a little pricey for me.

 

Chef knife - Kagayaki CarboNext Gyuto 240mm

Utility knife -  Artifex 150mm or Hiromoto Damascus 150mm

Fillet knife - Victorinox (Any preference between the VN40613 and VF40711?)

Boning knife - ?

Carving knife - Tojiro DP Sujihiki 240mm or a more 'carbon' knife

Steel - Idahone ceramic rod

Extra stone - Gesshin 8000

post #21 of 27

I don't have  experience with any of the knives on your list but I am familiar with them by reputation.  

Chef- The Carbonext sounds like a good fit for you.

Utility- The Richmond knives that were manufactured in USA have a horrible reputation for grind and fit and finish issues. Those made in Japan are not hated as much. I don't really know much about             the Hiromoto. I recommend stainless for this knife.

Filet and Boning. Get Victorinox. If they're good enough for butchers and fish cutters, they should be good enough for you. I would opt for the stiff blade but either is fine.

Carving- The Tojiro DP gyutos are considered great values, although f&f can be iffy and they are thought to be hard to sharpen. Unless you roast a lot of meat, you can get by nicely without a slicer.

Steel- IMO ceramic rods are useful for kitchen pros to do quick touchups in order to get through their shift. A  home cook can simply strop on stones. 

Extra stone- Unless you get into single bevels or straight razors, you're all set for stones.  

post #22 of 27

I never heard the Richmonds referred to as horrible, like in overgrind issues, though certainly the US stuff are not perfect in FF, and the bigger Artifex knives are a bit thick behind the edge.  CKTG has got a decent rep on making good on oversights, and I don't think you can go too far wrong with the Artifex petty at $40.  Stropping on a fine stone or loaded strop is preferable to the Idahone, but if you're stopping around 5K then the Idahone is convenient I think.

 

My fine Ark really makes a great steel, but rather than dropping $60-100+ on one and trashing a diamond hone rounding an edge I think one would be better served getting a piece of balsa and some fine diamond slurry to spray on it.

 

 

Rick

post #23 of 27

Not horrible, but clearly a project knife.

Artifex_Before1.jpg

http://s19.postimg.org/nd2ucaxlv/Artifex_Before1.jpg

post #24 of 27
By the way, I would tend to keep costs a bit restrained on petties. They have a small contact area with the board and will get some abuse, so you will sharpen them more often than any other knife, and they wear consequently.
post #25 of 27

Benuser, I have to wonder if all the Artifex chefs are coming through as extreme as that one.  If they were I certainly would hesitate recommending them.

 

As an engineer I would actually love to see how Victorinox manages such a decently thin edge and otb sharpening on their $40 chefs.

 

 

Rick

post #26 of 27
The Wa-Gyuto's have FKM steel direct from Fujiwara.
post #27 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Alan View Post

Benuser, I have to wonder if all the Artifex chefs are coming through as extreme as that one.  If they were I certainly would hesitate recommending them.

As an engineer I would actually love to see how Victorinox manages such a decently thin edge and otb sharpening on their $40 chefs.


Rick
That's an Artifex shown by one of CKTG's friends before thinning.
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